Glory Liberty A-League Head Coach Alex Epakis has called for a Grand Final performance from his side in Saturday’s must-win clash with Brisbane Roar at Perry Park (kick-off at 12pm WST).
The women in purple head to Queensland for the final fixture of the regular season knowing that three points are essential if they are to stand any chance of making the Finals.
Even a win will not be enough should either Melbourne Victory or Canberra United pick up a point or more from their respective games and a goal-difference swing will also be required.
But after a valiant display in Wednesday’s defeat at the hands of Premiers-elect Sydney FC, Epakis is keen to narrow the team’s focus onto what they can control.
“We are going to respond [to the Sydney FC loss] in a way which is indicative of what is in front of us and that’s to be aware of what happened and take some learnings, but now we don’t have much time to dwell on it,” he said.
“We need to be proactive on attacking the next game and that’s the general feeling in the group.
“If it is to be our last performance this season, we want to make sure that it’s a performance which reflects the group and the work we’ve done this year.
“So in a sense, we’re going to put on a Grand Final performance as best we can.”
Epkais went on to confirm that despite the showdown with Roar being Glory’s third game in six days, with each having been played in a different state, no fresh injuries were sustained against Sydney FC.
“There are a few sore bodies and there’s a bit of fatigue in the group,” he said.
“It was always going to be hard to get all the players to play all the minutes this week… but we have the depth to manage it.
“It was a really proud and spirited performance from the group and I could definitely see the players digging extremely deep to compete.
“When you come up against a class team like we did, you really have to go above and beyond in terms of effort and commitment and that was there for everyone to see.
“I was a proud coach who admired what the team did, but we just fell a little bit short, unfortunately.”
Roar, meanwhile, will head into the game well out of the Finals race, but Glory’s Head Coach is not overly concerned by how motivated or otherwise the hosts may be.
“There’ll be a different stimulus for them,” he said.
“They’ll be wanting to finish the season on a high as best as they can, but we have everything to play for.
“As a result of that, we’re not too focused on what they’re doing or need to do, we’re just going to focus on a performance that wins us the game.”
Roar head into the game winless in six, although they did manage a creditable away draw against Melbourne Victory last time out.
Among their leading lights this season have been US import Shea Connors, who has scored six goals and added two assists, Australia Under-20 midfielder Hollie Palmer, who has started every game and Matildas star Katrina Gorry, who has scored three times and contributed one assist despite starting only ten games.
The 19 previous meetings between the two clubs have yielded an even split of eight wins apiece and three draws and Glory won 1-0 on their last trip to Perry Park in December 2021.
Liberty A-League Season 2022/23
Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory
Saturday 1 April 2023
Kick-off: 12pm WST
Brisbane Roar Squad: 1.Isabella SHUTTLEWORTH (GK), 2.Annabel HAFFENDEN, 3.Jessie RASSCHAERT, 5.Jamilla RANKIN, 6.Holly MCQUEEN, 7.Ayesha NORRIE©, 11.Sharn FREIER, 12.Shea CONNORS, 13.Tamar LEVIN, 16.Zara KRUGER, 17.Talitha KRAMER, 19.Hollie PALMER, 20.Georgia BEAUMONT, 27.Indiah-Paige RILEY, 51.Hensley HANCUFF (GK),78.Margot ROBBINE
Ins: 21.Mia BAILEY (GK)
Unavailable: Mariel Hercher (ACL injury) Kijah Stephenson (ankle injury)
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Morgan AQUINO (gk), 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY (c), 6.Tijan MCKENNA, 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 9.Demi KOULIZAKIS, 12.Sofia SAKALIS, 13.Sarah CAIN, 14.Hannah BLAKE, 15.Cyera HINTZEN, 16.Isabella WALLHEAD, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 19.Izzy FOLETTA, 20.Sarah LANGMAN (gk), 21.Ella MASTRANTONIO, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 23.Alana JANCEVSKI, 42.Gabriella COLEMAN
Ins: 9.Demi KOULIZAKIS, 16.Isabella WALLHEAD, 17.Abbey GREEN, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC
Unavailable: 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM (injured), 11.Rylee BAISDEN (injured), 24.Milan HAMMOND (injured)